Posts Tagged ‘gifts’

Color Me Amazed

Friday, May 23rd, 2014
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A lot of knitters like to use hand-dyed yarns like Madelinetosh, Lorna’s Laces, or Prism. A fair number of those knitters are disappointed when they experience color pooling, or when they don’t like the way one color in the skein works with another one. artful color, mindful knitsMaybe they’ve done a broken rib stitch and noticed that what they had hoped would be specks of dark blue against a rose background turned into big blotches of purple. There are lots of ways to learn how to work with hand-dyed yarns and I’ve found the absolute best resource of all to not only learn to work with those variegated yarns but to actually plan for how those colors show up in your garment. Laura Militzer Bryant, the founder of Prism Yarns, has written a new book entitled Artful Color, Mindful Knits: A Definitive Guide to Working with Hand-Dyed Yarns, and it goes beyond any other book I know to show fiber artists how to craft with color.

As an art-school graduate, Laura became fascinated with hand-dyed yarns when she first saw them at a trade show in the early 1980′s, and learned how to dye yarns as a result. She founded her own hand-dyed yarn company, photo by Amy StephensPrism, and out of the necessity of having to showcase those yarns, she became a knitwear designer. Both of those talents are shown to amazing advantage in Artful Color, Mindful Knits. She can show you how to stack your colors, how to splash your colors, even how to create an argyle pattern with your skein, all by using her Magic Number system that uses the length of a color repeat, the amount of yarn used for a single stitch, and the total number of stitches. Period. When I learned how to anticipate and even plan when a color shows up in your knitting to form a pattern, I wanted to award Laura a Nobel Prize. The designs that accompany the various color schemes are gorgeous. Jackets, hats, scarves, vests, and sweaters, all in vivid colors and patterns that show a master’s touch are readily accessible to any knitter or crocheter.

Artful Color, Mindful Knits includes a thorough color tutorial in the front of the book, which is eye-opening. Laura shows readers in simple language how colors interact with each other and how we perceive them. This helps us plan how to use color and what colors work best in hundreds of different patterns and yarns.  The book also has a wonderful technique section in the back of the book, showing how to do various cast-ons, increases and decreases, and bind-offs, as well as crochet techniques. It’s really a treasure trove of information, one that will be used again and again.ArtfulColor-7

Hey, local blog-readers: Laura will be coming to WEBS on June 7 to sign copies of her new book from 3:30–4:30pm. Come by to see the Prism Yarns trunk show or sign up for her Introduction to Color class. You will be amazed at what you can do!

Customer Spotlight – Malabrigo Blanket

Monday, April 21st, 2014
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Last week one of our local customers, Peggy, brought in a blanket she’s been working on for a friend. She says, “It is a very old pattern that my friend’s mother made for her many years ago. She has been searching for several years to find it.” The pattern was found, an old magazine clipping, and Peggy got to work.

Customer Blanket

Peggy chose to work with Malabrigo Rastita, a soft and cozy merino wool, and 41 skeins later she ended with a gorgeous, Full-sized bedspread. “It is indeed a labor of love and I can’t wait to take to Maryland to its new owner and see her face when she sees it.”

Thanks for bringing in this lovely blanket Peggy! And for those of you curious about the pattern, it was originally published in 1946 in the Complete Book of Crochet, but the pattern is available online as well.

Have you taken on any large scale projects this year?

Adult Snow Day

Friday, February 14th, 2014
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This snow sculpture entitled "Knitting Family Poems" was created for the 2007 Ottawa Winterlude National Snow Sculpture Competition by the Alberta team of Brian McArthur, Dawn Detarando and Will Truchon (it received the People’s Choice Award).

This snow sculpture entitled “Knitting Family Poems” was created for the 2007 Ottawa Winterlude National Snow Sculpture Competition by the Alberta team of Brian McArthur, Dawn Detarando and Will Truchon (it received the People’s Choice Award).

We had a Snow Day last week, when WEBS closed for the biggest snowstorm we’ve had since last year’s blizzard. It felt like an unexpected school vacation day, and since I’d gotten all my work obligations taken care of the day before, I gave myself permission to enjoy the day like a teenager. One of my most hedonistic pleasures is reading knitting reference books, so I had a wonderful few hours spent thumbing through my old classics as well as some recent contenders for BKF (Best Knitting Friend). I thought I’d share a few and see what some of your go-to answer books are.

A book that has saved my life again and again is the timeless The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt. June came here about a year ago on a very snowy day, and the delight on the faces of those who were here and happened to meet her was infectious. She has a trick for every knitting conundrum you might find yourself in and her information is delivered with a dry wit that makes her sound like your favorite fifth-grade teacher.

A volume small enough to keep in my knitting bag is Margaret Radcliffe’s The Knitting Answer Book, which I turn to again and again. Even though the answers are short, they give you the most information in the fewest words, and the clever illustrations speak volumes. It’s a small book that is completely portable.

No collection should be complete without Barbara Walker and Elizabeth Zimmermann. Barbara Walker’s 4-book series of knitting pattern and charted stitch designs is used by literally every knitwear designer at some point in their career, and they are priceless for brevity and a sense of history. Elizabeth Zimmermann’s The Knitter’s Almanac and The Opinionated Knitter are the cornerstone of any knitter’s bookshelf.

Some recent favorites worth a look are Clara Parkes’ books The Knitter’s Book of Yarn and The Knitter’s Book of Wool, for the care and beautiful language she uses to describe fiber. Stitch ‘N Bitch by Debbie Stoller, the founder of Bust Magazine, almost single-handedly brought knitting to a new high over 10 years ago. And no knitter can really call themselves a knitter unless they have some Harlot on their nightstand.

What are your favorite fiber reads? Let us know in the comments what you like to page through on a snow day.

PS. This snow sculpture entitled “Knitting Family Poems” was created for the 2007 Ottawa Winterlude National Snow Sculpture Competition by the Alberta team of Brian McArthur, Dawn Detarando and Will Truchon (it received the People’s Choice Award).

Valley Yarns featured in Knit Simple

Thursday, January 9th, 2014
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The new, Winter 2013, issue of Knit Simple has hit the newsstands and it features 2 great projects knit with our very own Valley Yarns!

First is the Striped and Solid Cowl by Loren Cherensky knit in Northampton Bulky. Deceptively simple stitches combined with a bulky yarn make for a quick and easy project and with over 30 colors to choose from there’s a perfect color combination for almost everyone.

Second is the Dog Pillow designed by Amy Bahrt and knit in Valley Superwash. This whimsical little pillow, with adorable dachsunds, is worked in colorblocks with some easy garter stripes.

What will you be knitting from this issue?

On the bookshelf this week: Cozy Knits

Friday, December 27th, 2013
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Cozy Knits from Tanis Grey has 50 projects to keep you knitting all winter long. Whether you need a quick birthday gift, a new hat to match the coat you got over the holidays or you are determined to get a head start on your gift knitting for NEXT year, you’ll likely find what you’re looking for here.

With projects that range from hats and mittens to simple sweaters and adorable pieces for baby, you’ll find yourself knitting up colorful and interesting projects in no time.

Leave a comment below and tell us about your favorite quick and cozy knit project and you could win a copy! All comments must be posted by 11:59pm EST on Tuesday, Dec. 31. Please make sure to leave us a way to contact you if you win! The winner will be drawn randomly and posted here.

Edited, Monday January 6, 2014:

And our Winner is –  Debra who said, “Of the four projects on the cover, I can see making all four (and there’s 46 more to explore!). Hats and mitts are always needed and fun to work up quickly.”

Congratulations Debra! Keep an eye on your inbox, we’ll be contacting you soon.

Ready, Set, Knit! 338: Kathy and Steve talk Year End Blowout Sale!

Saturday, December 21st, 2013
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This week Kathy talks with Steve about the 2013 End of Year Blowout Sale and our upcoming 40th Anniversary Celebrations in 2014.

End of Year Sale – has begun on-line and officially begins in-store on 12/26 and runs through 1/4.
On-line Sale Yarns – While Supplies Last

Upcoming Events:
WEBS will be open one last Sunday, tomorrow – December 22nd, from 12-5.

40th Anniversary celebrations kick off January 15th! Keep an eye out for Valley Yarns collaborations with Madeline Tosh, Lorna’s Laces, Malabrigo and Dream in Color throughout the year.

We’re also working with some big name designers each quarter. Look for patterns from Tanis Grey, Sally Melville, Doris Chan, Franklin Habit, and Kristin Omdahl – to name a few!

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Ravelry for the most timely and up-to-date information.

Reminder:

We’re collecting Hats for Halos of Hope. Our thanks to everyone that has already sent in hats, keep ‘em coming! You can now make a donation in lieu of hats and help out as well! Each $5.00 contribution counts as 1 hat in our total. Donations can be made here.

Make as many knit and/or crochet hats as you can (check here for preferred fibers and free patterns) and get them to us by February 1, 2014. Make sure each hat and package is labeled with “Team RSK!” Please mail all packages to:

WEBS
Attn: TEAM RSK!
6 Industrial Pkwy.
Easthampton, MA 01027

If you’re posting about your progress on Facebook or Twitter please use #PodcastThrowdown. And please join the Podcasters Throwdown Group on Ravelry and show your support in the Team RSK thread! If you’ve sent in hats let us know who you are.

Right click or CTRL+click and Save As to download the MP3 of this Podcast Subscribe to Ready, Set, Knit! in iTunes Subscribe to the Ready, Set, Knit! Podcast RSS Feed

Even More Employee Wishlists

Monday, December 16th, 2013
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We’ve asked one last bunch employees what’s on their personal wishlists. After all, if it’s on the wishlist of a WEBS employee you know it’s a good choice for the fiber enthusiast in your life!

Hi, I’m Kirsten and I’m a designer! Kirsten is our Valley Yarns Design Manager.

My holiday wishlist includes:

1. 1/20nm Wool Cashmere Mill End – I’ve spent most of my life working in yarn stores, so believe me when I say this stuff is special! It’s an amazing value and a great thickness for weaving, lace knitting or crocheting, or for plying into a thicker yarn. Closeouts like this don’t come around much anymore.

2. Run Run Run Italian Shopper – The more sturdy tote bags in my life, the better. Since this one can fold up and go in my purse, I’ll never be without a shopping bag.

3. Lavishea Lotion Bars – So important for keeping my hands in good condition in the winter. Make mine lavender, please!

4. Debra’s Garden Needle Gauge Pendant – I have a number of inexpensive needle sizing tools, but they’re never to be found when I need them. I bet this awesome pendant would solve that problem.

5. Knitter’s Pride Dreamz Crochet Hook Set – It feels like I’m discovering a new use for crochet hooks every day: threading garment tags, fixing knit stitches, weaving in ends, actual crocheting. Time to ditch the hodgepodge of hooks in my toolkit and grab a great, color-coded set.

 

Hi, I’m Bonnie and I’m a knitter and spinner. Bonnie is our Assistant Store Manager.

My holiday wishlist includes:

1.Knitters Pride Symfonie Rose Interchangeable Needle Set- I’m in love with the needles.  They are light weight and have a great point for working with lace weight.  I also love the nice case they come in so they are easy to store and keep organized.

2. Highlighter Tape is a must-have for any project.  It helps me keep my place on projects, whether it be with charts or just keeping my place on a pattern.  This has been a life saver for me because I tend to have many projects going and I know right where I left off, because I have it marked with the tape.

3. Madelinetosh Merino Light - This would be a great gift for me because I have many scarves/shawls in my Ravelry Queue.  This yarn is one of my top choices for yarns in this weight.

4.Camel Down- One of my favorite fibers to spin up.  Feels like cashmere but half the price.

5. Artyarns Ensemble 4- wonderful high end yarn that is a blend of silk and cashmere.  I would NEVER turn this yarn away!  Hint Hint!

 

Hi, I’m Stephanie and I’m a knitter and spinner. Stephanie is one of our Store Co-Managers.

My holiday wishlist includes:

1. Schoppe Zauberball Starke 6 – This is sport weight sock yarn,  which is not all that easy to find, and it comes in a gorgeous array of colors. Since I’m a frequent sock knitter, I’m partial to color #2082 if you want to buy me a present.

2. The Field Guide to Fleece by Deborah Robson and Carol Ekarius - I love reference books and this would be a welcome addition to my bookshelves.  100 sheep breeds and their fibers are featured in this small volume, in addition to clear photos and suggestions for best uses of each fiber.  A must for fleece shopping at wool festivals.

3.  The Reisenthal small Allrounder - Like many folks, I can’t have too many bags and these are well-made, reasonably priced and come in a variety of bold prints.  It can be used as a project bag and a purse with lots of roomy pockets for doodads and necessities.

4. Bobbins for my Schacht Matchless and my Lendrum DT. Since I don’t get around to plying my spun singles very often, this way I can have as many unfinished spinning projects as I do knitting projects.

5. New fiber from Sweet Georgia - 100%  superwash Blue Faced Leicester, caught my eye as soon as it arrived. Rich saturated colors ensure a spun yarn with lots of character and interest.

 

Hi, I’m Dena and I’m a knitter who wants to be a better crocheter. Dena is our E-Commerce Marketing Manager.

My holiday wishlist includes:

1. 6 oz of Jaggerspun Zephyr in Turquoise – So I can knit the Shetland Trader Laar cardigan.

2. Clover Soft Stitch Ring Markers – My stitch markers are always disappearing. I think my sofa is eating them.

3. Knitter’s Pride Karbonz Interchangeable Circular Starter Set – I love my Knitter’s Pride interchangeable needles. And this Karbonz Starter Set would be a nice addition to my collection.

4. Unexpected Afghans by Robyn Chachula – I love so many of the blankets from this book and think it would be a fun way to expand my crochet skills.

5. Be Sweet Skinny Wool – Surprise me with 3 colors so I can make a stripy shawl. But it can include the Sea Green color, I would be extra happy.

Ready, Set, Knit! 337: Kathy talks with Kristin Nicholas

Saturday, December 14th, 2013
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This week Kathy talks with knitwear designer and colorwork guru Kristin Nicholas.

Kathy and Kirsten discuss lots of great last minute knit projects for gifts and decorating from Valley Yarns:

Last Minute Hat, Last Minute Mittens, Valley Knit Stars and Mini Mittens - all FREE knitting patterns.

And patterns from Kristin:

Quarters CapFarmgirls’ Stocking CapHeart to Heart MittensElves, Gnomes, Santa + Leo Tolstoy (FREE), Felted Pen + Pencil CoziesKnit it Felt it Zip it , the Colorful and Creative Christmas Stocking patterns as well as the Lamb Holiday Cards.

Steve’s Yarn Picks:

Upcoming Events:

Shipping Deadlines are quickly approaching – WEST COAST, non expedited orders deadline was yesterday, 12/13/2013.

WEBS will be open on Sundays, from 12-5,  through December 22nd.

Reminder:

We’re collecting Hats for Halos of Hope. Our thanks to everyone that has already sent in hats, keep ‘em coming!

Make as many knit and/or crochet hats as you can (check here for preferred fibers and free patterns) and get them to us by February 1, 2014. Make sure each hat and package is labeled with “Team RSK!” Please mail all packages to:

WEBS
Attn: TEAM RSK!
6 Industrial Pkwy.
Easthampton, MA 01027

If you’re posting about your progress on Facebook or Twitter please use #PodcastThrowdown. And please join the Podcasters Throwdown Group on Ravelry and show your support in the Team RSK thread! If you’ve sent in hats let us know who you are.

Right click or CTRL+click and Save As to download the MP3 of this Podcast Subscribe to Ready, Set, Knit! in iTunes Subscribe to the Ready, Set, Knit! Podcast RSS Feed

More Employee Wishlists

Monday, December 9th, 2013
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We’ve asked a few more of our employees what’s on their personal wishlists. After all, if it’s on the wishlist of a WEBS employee you know it’s a good choice for the fiber enthusiast in your life!

amys wishlistHi, I’m Amy S. and I’m a knitter and weaver.  Amy is our Mutimedia Assistant and a Sales Associate in our Retail Store.

My holiday wish list includes:

1  Harrisville Designs Cone Holder - My cones are rolling everywhere when I’m winding a warp.  This would make it much easier for me to start my weaving projects!

2  Knitter’s Pride Karbonz 6” Double Pointed Needle Set -  I really feel like I should never need to buy any more needles, but I can never seem to find my smaller DPN’s.  I love the way the Karbonz feel.  It would make it so much easier just to have the whole set.  Don’t you think?

3 The Original Thera Glove -After hours of knitting my hand can get sore.  This just might be a way to get a couple more hours in.  I’ve heard great reviews from customers who use it.

4 Knitter’s Pride Needle Gauge –  They aren’t expensive but I’m going to need about 10, one for every project bag.  As far as I’m concerned you can’t have enough of these.  It’s a great stocking stuffer too.

5 Large Blocking Board – I can’t believe I don’t own one of these yet!
Hi, I’m Ping and I’m a knitter. Ping is a Sales Associate in our store and a Valley Yarns designer.

My holiday wish list includes:

1  Reisenthal Allrounder Medium Bag - You know that boy scout saying “be prepared”, the same applies for knitters. Since I am constantly driving my kids to various appointments and activities, there is always a project bag ready and waiting for me. I love the Reisenthal Allrounder Medium bag. Size of the bag can accommodate a variety of projects, from shawl to color work sweater project – it fits. The hinged satchel is reminiscent of a doctor’s bag; no fumbling around something. With plenty of roomy interior pockets, tools, keys and even your phone have a place.

2  Run, Run, Run Lunch Tote - Okay, I believe you can NEVER have too many bags.  This one is stylish and oh so practical. What is not to love? It folds down to nothing so it’s a great emergency bag. It’s reflective, insulated interior lets you see inside your bag with ease. The finish is smooth, so it’s easy to clean. Plus, the interior is made from recycled water bottles. It comes in four cute colors; each has a little message. My heart is set orange bag. I love how it reminds me to keep taking chances.

3  Lantern Moon Stitch markers -  These stitch marketers are the embodiment of cute! WEBS carries a wonderful assortment of these charming and whimsical stitch markers. Whether it’s the tiny crocheted blue birds, bees, sheep or flowers, there are six in a package. They are lightweight and won’t weigh down your knitting. Each crocheted image is mounted on a metallic marker ring that ensures snag free knitting. My daughters have threatened to use my Lantern Moon stitch markers as earring charms, so I really need to stock up!

4  Knitter’s Pride Karbonz Interchangeable Deluxe Set - When someone asks me why I have a need for so many different types knitting needles, I tell them that knitting needles are tools, and like any tool, a crafter does not have just one. Have you ever asked a woodworker how many drills, hammers, screw drivers, or chisels  he or she has? Or how many knives and pans does the serious home chef own? Does a painter only paint with one brush? Enough said. The yarn and the project often dictate the best knitting needle to help you accomplish your creative endeavor.  As I age, I find my hands are more sensitive surfaces and weight of my tools. I want warmth and flexibility without comprising speed and sight. This is why I find the Knitter’s Pride Karbonz needles so appealing. The carbon fiber is warm, flexible and lightweight. The metallic tip allows me to see the stitches even in indoor evening light. More importantly, unlike most  interchangeable sets, the Karbonz interchangeable deluxe set includes sizes 2.5 and 3 – perfect of lace and sock knitting. Most interchangeable sets stop at size 4. These needles would be a perfect complement to my needle toolbox.

5  Warping Board - In 2013, I learned dress and use a 4-harness loom. This was an amazing learning experience. My education as a weaver has only just begun. The tool that fascinates me the most is the warping board. Made from hardwoods, the simple rectangular frame and strategically position pegs appears rather unassuming, but this ingenious tool enables you to consistently measure your warp ends. For example, the Schacht 14 yard warping board is only 36 inches across. The methodical manner of winding the yarn under, over and around the different pegs is quite calming and rather meditative.

6 WEBS classes -  I believe the opportunity to create with one’s hands something beautiful and entirely personal is truly part of the human condition. There are so many wonderful classes offered at WEBS; knitting, crocheting, weaving, spinning, dyeing, felting - all my favorite tactile sports! The classes satisfy my curiosity and my need to create, to learn and to broaden my appreciation of the fiber arts.  There are just not enough hours in the day to pursue all the things I wish to make. However, when I take a class, it gives me the chance to learn and to create in a very focused manner.

 

Hi, I’m Amy G and I’m a Knitter. Amy is our Education Manager.

My holiday wishlist includes:

1 I would love a huge supply of  T-Pins because I always seem to have “just enough” and I’d love to not have to worry that I’ll run out.

2 I would love a sweater’s worth of Madeline Tosh Merino Light in Badlands, a dark, interesting color I fell in love with at Stitches West this year.

3 It would be great to have the Barbara Walker Treasury of Knitting Patterns, the 4th volume, which is the only one I don’t own.

4 Hey, how about a set of Karbonz double points in sizes 4, 5, and 6? Those are my most-used sizes and I love using dpns, especially these pointy-tipped beauties.

5 Mostly what I’d love is a comfy sofa, good light, hot coffee, “Breaking Bad” streaming on my iPad, and three days’ worth of knitting. And then a nap.

 

 

Hi, I’m Jamie and I’m a knitter! Jamie is our E-Mail Marketing Manager.

My holiday wishlist includes:

1 Knitter’s Pride Nova Special Interchangeable Circular Set — It seems like every time I find a new hat pattern to knit I end up needing one or two new 16″ circular needles. I love using the Novas that I already have – they’re nice and smooth and the tips are pointy, but not too pointy. With the Special Interchangeable Circular Set I’d never have to worry about not having the right needles for a hat pattern, and I could have two (or three, or four) on my needles at once!

2 Fibre Company Tundra — I cannot get enough of this yarn. Seriously, can I have all of it? It’s great for quick hats for gifts (I love Greta’s Tundra Hat pattern), and now that the Tundra Elements collection is out there are even more warm and soft projects to whip up!

3 Weekend Hats by Cecily Glowik MacDonald and Melissa LaBarre — I’ve been on a hat knitting kick lately, and I’d be really excited to get this book. The book’s presentation is lovely, and it features hat patterns from a who’s-who of knitwear designers!

4 Knitter’s Pride Lace Blocking Mats — I’ve grown tired of pinning my damp finished objects to the carpet. It seems kind of gross both for the projects and the carpet. The Lace Blocking Mats are a great solution —  they don’t take up too much space but can expand for larger pieces.

5 Lee Highlighter Tape — As I’ve done more lace patterns, I’ve found myself frequently wishing I had Highlighter Tape. My current system consists of resting my pencil next to the row I’m on. It’s not very good system, as the pencil frequently rolls down the page or gets knocked off-course by a curious dog.

“Hanukkah is Over, Full Speed Ahead to Christmas” Gifts

Friday, December 6th, 2013
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I’ve been wandering around the store, enjoying the festive look of our new cash wrap and the decorations around the shelves. Although my family celebrates Hanukkah, I always like the lights and pine-y scent of Christmas decor. I thought I’d mention some gift items for shoppers looking for Christmas stocking-stuffers as we look ahead a few weeks to present-opening day.

Kristin Nicholas is not only an icon in the knitting world but a good friend and a talented artist. A few years ago, she used some of her rare free time to knit sweaters for her lambs, and then photograph them and turn them into magical gift and greeting cards. How can you resist this face?

LAMBCARDSKSANTALAMB.zoom.1

Another friend and gifted artist is former WEBS employee and potter Malea Rhodes, who produces beautiful ornaments and porcelain buttons for sale in the store. These sheep would look right at home nestled on a knitter’s Christmas tree or carefully wrapped in a stocking or on a special package.

Just right for a crafty Christmas...

And last but not least, these exquisite scissors, which look like they came from an Edwardian sewing box, would be the perfect accessory for any crafter’s stash. The delicate gold accents don’t detract at all from the durability and sharpness of the tool, and it’ll be oohed and ahhed over at your next knitting group meeting.

Happy crafting, happy shopping, and happy holidays!scissors